Christine and I adopted Jerry, our anxious cat, 8 years ago. We did this based on the theory that a second cat would be a good companion for Tom who was home alone most of the day. I remember the adoption pretty clearly. We went there in search of an orange cat and Christine fell in love with Jerry, this comically small, black cat who was afraid of everything. Even air seemed to scare him.
Jerry was, by anyone's measure, a nervous cat. The adoption people said it had something to do with him being taken away from his mother too soon. Soon enough, our theory of 2 cats keeping each other occupied panned out and he and Tom were thick as thieves.
Jerry was there when Alex was born. Well, not the exact moment, but he was there when we got home. It took a while but they got used to each other.
Jerry's nervous nature meant he hid in the basement when anyone visited. Actually, he hid in the basement most of the time; that is with one exception. Jerry loved Christine's parents. I don't know what it was about them but when they visited Jerry's entire demeanor would change and he'd become more friendly. The rest of the time he had Tom.
I know cats aren't pack animals but I think Jerry looked out for Tom. One day about 4 years ago a dog came into our backyard and was harassing Tom. Tom was not fairing well and then Jerry came tearing out of the house. He basically clobbered the dog. I had no idea Jerry could fight, but that dog went running and Jerry took off after him faster than I've ever seen him run. Jerry returned 10 minutes later without a scratch and we never saw that dog again.
Even as they got older Jerry tended to stick near Tom when he wasn't hiding in the basement.
Jerry's body gave out today. He was in really bad shape all week. It took the doctor a few days to figure out he wasn't going to get better, but it was pretty clear to us he was very sick. Last night I put him on my lap and he purred for hours. Today Christine built him a fire to keep him warm before I took him to the vet. When I went down to get him he was just lying there purring. I think he really liked the fire.
I'm going to miss Jerry, but I think his death is going to be even harder on the kids. They've been paying more attention to the cats lately. Alex and Conner are very proud of their ability to keep Jerry calm enough to pet him. Tonight the boys couldn't sleep, so we looked at some of these pictures and told stories about Jerry. We had lots of laughs.
Jerry was a good cat, a good friend and part of our family. We all miss him.